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Twin Apartment Towers with 350 Units Proposed for Downtown Minneapolis Corridor

Development of Vacant Lots Could Include 20,000 SF of Street Level Retail
August 7, 2018
A team of Chicago developers hopes to build interlocking twin towers with 350 apartments and up to 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail on a prominent corner in Minneapolis.

Harlem Irving Companies and CA Ventures want to construct the Janus-like structure on a collection of vacant lots that run from 240 to 258 Hennepin Ave., where Hennepin and Washington Avenues meet and the city’s downtown gives way to its tony North Loop district.

"It’s on the precipice of these two neighborhoods, so we wanted to break it up into two smaller masses - two smaller towers, with one referencing the warehouse district and another referencing downtown," said Evan Jacobsen, an architect with Bloomington, MN-based Tushie Montgomery Architects, who presented the plan to the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association’s land use committee on Monday night.

To that end, one will mimic the sleek skyscrapers to the east, he said, while the other will bring to mind the brick-and-timber, Victorian-age industrial buildings of the North Loop, almost all of which have now been converted to apartments, retail or creative office space.

The towers will be 18 to 20 stories high and sit on a podium-style building that will be fully devoted to retail, with frontage on both streets. They got skinnier and taller as the design process progressed, Jacobsen noted, and they don’t sit squarely on the ground-floor building, which will give the Harlem Irving and CA Ventures room to build a 26,000-square-foot amenity deck for apartment residents on top.

The developers hope to attract an anchor retail tenant to occupy about 10,000 to 12,000 square feet, and will have another space of about the same size to divvy up between smaller retail users.

Jacobsen cautioned that the renderings are preliminary. The team will come back with a more refined and detailed proposal in about one month’s time.

The site is owned by Minneapolis’ Dolphin Group Companies, a collection of staffing agencies controlled by the Dolphin family, which also owns 21st Century Bank. The Dolphins declined to comment on the development.

The land is directly across the street from an existing Whole Foods supermarket and faces United Properties’ proposed Gateway Development, which currently calls for a 34-story spire with office, condominiums and a Four Seasons hotel.

Harlem Irving and CA Ventures are recent entrants into the Twin Cities market. The companies recently completed their first project here, The Link, and have a second on the way in Prospect Park, a neighborhood that sits between the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus and the city’s border with St. Paul.

Neither firm responded to a request for comment.

Clare Kennedy, Minneapolis / St. Paul Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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